News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
Nuclear verdicts get carriers rethinking safety training programs
SBTC denied request for HOS and ELD exemptions when pets are on board
Friday Short Haul - Smuggled migrants, Prime settlement, USF Holland lawsuit, truck road damage
Tank trailers get approved for an additional pulsating brake light
TuSimple and Waymo go head to head on issues of AV trucking
Friday Short Haul - Drivers can self-dispatch, driver pay on the increase, Hurrican Delta emergency
Women in Trucking names Influential Women and top companies for women to work for
When a social media presence could hurt a driver or carrier
Friday Short Haul - Walmart buys Tesla semis, FMCSA drivers panel, Pronto.ai is denied request, and Jim Mullen moves to TuSimple
Machine learning shared truck loads add efficient component to LTL shipping
New HOS rules in effect Sept. 29; clearing confusion about the new rule changes
Friday Short Haul -- Schneider's remote orientation, 14-hour rule change comments, license renawal extension, ATA's DOL response
Feds come out with their own definition of independent contractor status
Amazon casts around for freight haulers; FMCSA news for drivers
Friday Short Haul - WIT photo contest, Teamsters challenge HOS, $1 billion for infrastructure
Speeding was most-cited violation during Safe Driver Week
Carriers, others, honor drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA wildfire declaration, hair drug testing, shift plus load pay
FMCSA looking to put under-21 drivers on interstate hauls
New AB 5 bill specifically targets truckers for enforcement
Friday Short Haul - AV test tracking tool, split-duty proposal comments, and mandatory hair testing
FMCSA helps bankroll Trucking Fatigue Meter to fight driver drowsiness
FMCSA looking at split-duty rule change; extending 14-hour day
Friday Short Haul - Travel centers announce special offers for drivers in September
Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3
More indictments in New Orleans area accident insurance scams
Friday Short Haul - North Dakota road trains, Brake Safety Week, drivers not returning to duty, opposition to Mexican truckers
Platooning passes real-world tests; new company emerges as leader
Helping victims of crashes earn drivers Highway Angel awards
Friday Short Haul - Trucker's last ride, FMCSA extension, autonomous trucks
Test vehicles did not fare well during AAA's driving assistance evaluations
Spotted lanternfly sightings on the increase
Friday Short Haul - JKC Trucking announcement, truck stop break-in, WIT top women businesses
FMCSA reminds drivers of 'adverse conditions' exemptions to HOS rules
SmartSense mitigates collision and 'sitting duck' situations
Friday Short Haul - FBI ELD hacks warning, students hack trucks, OOIDA asks for HVUT suspension
Women In Trucking announces 2020 photo contest
California publishes major new freight plan
Friday Short Haul - Love's requires masks, 10-million-mile driver, brake check blitz, and TuSimple truck incident
COVID-19 gives the average trucker a chance to "attend" FMCSA safety summit
Overdrive honors Small Fleet Champs
Friday Short Haul - States push for electric semis, fewer student new-hires, troopers in a truck
Nearly 300,000 drivers would lose jobs if hair testing was mandated
Trucking Truth owner/founder gets 3-hour spot at Road Dog Trucking Radio
Friday Short Haul - Operation Safe Driver Week, Canadian border, fuel cell semis hit the road
Werner, DOE earn FMCSA ELD and HOS exemptions
TuSimple announces its Autonomous Freight Network to expand driverless freight hauling throughout the nation
Friday Short Haul - House passes Moving Forward Act, YRC gets a bailout, and trucking jobs on the increase
Group pens letter objecting to proposed EV charging stations at highway rest areas
Carriers' virus response gets kudos at TCA virtual meeting
Friday Short Haul - Convoy brokerage, CLP waiver extended, $2 million amendment passed, two sentenced for CDL fraud
Nuclear verdicts strangling trucking companies; not so, say lawsuit attorneys
Eight carriers in lawsuit for not poaching other companies' drivers
Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman
FMCSA extends 3 COVID-related waiver declarations
Truckers say they will refuse to enter cop-defunded cities
Friday Short Haul - Truckers love guns, freight broker leader resigns, avoiding riots
Cargo theft on the uptick during COVID-19 era
California voters will get a chance to scrap AB 5
Friday Short Haul - Prime crash verdict, Teamsters applaud INVEST Act, OOIDA opposes broker bond changes
Dwell and detention times begin to decrease post-virus
CRST fighting another battle over driver poaching
Friday Short Haul - Driver shortage is over, Amazon's brokerage goes national, and lawyers are after carriers for nuclear verdicts
Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies
FMCSA to consider increasing HOS for autonomous drivers
Friday Short Haul - Trimble MAPS, rate of fatalities increase, Comcar bankruptcy, driver pay on the rise
FMCSA: Long-awaited final HOS revisions announced
2016 trucking documentary released to YouTube for public viewing
Friday Short Haul - Reusing morgue reefers, ATRI research priorities, FMCSA HOS declaration
WIT honors two women in the trucking industry
Freight brokers push back against "price gouging" accusation
Friday Short Haul - Tank truck revenues decline, former Arrow CEO gets early prison release, not-preventable crashes
ATRI and OOIDF team up for comprehensive COVID-19/trucking survey
U.S. military has unique needs for truck platooning
Friday Short Haul - Truckers protest low rates, 1 million masks given to drivers, SecurSpace app finds parking
WorkHound analyses what drivers think about the COVID-19 crisis
Group pushes back on temporary increased weight limits
Friday Short Haul - 'Thank God for truckers!' CA state senator proposes bill to suspend AB5, TA furloughs 3,000 workers
Truckers say distracted driving is on the rise
Trucking leaders think some recent changes might become permanent in the industry
Friday Short Haul - "Your papers please," skills testing waiver, masks required in Canada
Truckers report in on their treatment during these COVID-19 times
FMCSA acts quickly to keep the new-driver pipeline flowing
Friday Short Haul - Weight limits increase, food trucks not wanted in rest areas, FMCSA extends HOS exemptions
Trucking industry concerned about state licensing agency closings
California AB-5 advocates react to carriers' COVID-19 good deeds
Friday Short Haul - Schneider's error, Change.org petition, Teamsters Canada demands
Authors: 'Legacy' carriers ignore autonomous technology at their peril
COVID-19 scare: State gun laws come under scrutiny
Friday Short Haul - Inspection blitz postponed, COVID-19 webinar, FHA urges states to keep rest areas open, fewer cars means faster truck deliveries
DOT and FMCSA issue COVID-19 responses
Starsky Robotics calls it quits
Friday Short Haul - Weigh station parking, rest areas reopen, HOS waiver expanded, freight prices increase
Truck drivers mostly exempt from coronavirus lock downs
HOS rules relaxed for COVID-19 relief effort
Friday Short Haul - Western Express recovers from Tennessee tornado, driver involved in two accidents six minutes apart, another carrier quits
Daimler's electric vehicles and autonomous trucks continue real-world testing
Predictive technology increases driver safety, benefits carriers
Friday Short Haul -- Coffee drinking drivers, Amazon coronavirus email, FMCSA safety summit
AIRman introduces no-crank technology to landing gears
Roadmaster shows how to reduce driver turnover
Friday Short Haul - CBD users beware, 8,000 violations revealed in Clearinghouse, laptop theft lands Alabama trucker in prison
Canada company offers easy access to spare trailers
Roadcheck could result in temporarily higher freight rates
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving yard trucks, Knight-Swift partners with Truckstop.com, Security guard shoots driver
Training providers offer a diversity of options
Idaho eases hemp transport prohibition; too late to help arrested drivers
Friday Short Haul - Tennessee carrier quits, signs a carrier is going down, retaining drivers
New phone app hopes to alleviate shipper waits
Senate Transportation Committee gets an earful from trucking execs
Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to drive for, FMCSA delays ELDT rule, Cold Carriers closes doors
Baylor Trucking deals with consequences of ELD outage
WIT announces first-ever Driver Ambassador, names February Member of the Month
Friday Short Haul - ATA at White House USMCA signing, AB-5 fight continues, toughest jobs
May dates announced for this year's roadside inspection blitz
States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws
Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator
Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels
Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm
Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey
Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy
A glimpse into driving long-haul in China
Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge
Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers
WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year
Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors
Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019
Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020
Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car
Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving
Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit
Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities
Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect
State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline
Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions
Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees
Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?
Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath'
Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack
Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper
Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill
Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash
Tesla announces new electric Semi model
Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay
Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working
Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits
So you want to start your own trucking company?
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges
Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase
Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5
Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement
Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over"
Are trucker strikes a thing of the past?
Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers
OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules
Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase
Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition
ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers
Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend
Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse
UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program
Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies
Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics
Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California
Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers
Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation
Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets
54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology
Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea
TCA honors three Highway Angels
Now they're talking about "smart" trailers
Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage
Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change
Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse
Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign
Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality
Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks
Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire
UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment
FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes
Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions
CVSA asks for new truck crash study
Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination
Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race
New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes
Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav
Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity
DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure
Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs
FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers
It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle.
Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans
Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire
Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills
Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status
ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant
New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters
Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week
Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July
Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?
Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks
Experts warn of active wildland fire season
More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking
Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award
Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs
Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo
HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers
FMCSA takes a further look at detention time
Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest
Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week
Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo
Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments
Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration
Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts
Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous trucks on USPS test run
Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins
Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole
Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South
Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets
Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers
'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states
Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers
Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business
ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for
Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks
Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings
Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels
Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business
Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise
Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need
Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border
Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules
Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates
Don't get scammed by skimmers
Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking
Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap
Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising
FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website
Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award
The hidden danger of looking but not seeing
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire
Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases
Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness
Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports
New tax changes hit drivers hard
FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military
Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use
Congress committee looks at state of America's highways
Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same
Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks
Detention - A problem still in search of a solution
February Highway Angels honorees named
Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets
Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?
Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage
Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team
Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards
Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers
LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30
2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry
Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018
TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award
TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year
Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers
New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018
Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup
Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks
Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017
Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way
Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal
Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice
The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers
The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017
We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Regardless of your experience level in trucking, read this and think about what I'm saying.
The first stage of learning is listening and observing. You're either reading from a manual, listening to instructions, or watching someone perform a task. I hear a lot of people say, "I learn best by doing." Well to some degree, we all do. 'Doing' is an essential step in the process, but it shouldn't be the first step.
Trucking is not something you can learn simply by observing, but a lot of people don't realize they're almost skipping this stage entirely. This doesn't just apply to new drivers. The trucking industry is loaded with experienced drivers who have failed to learn how to be successful at the highest level in this industry because they're hard headed, they think their way is the only way, and they're not learning from those who are outperforming them.
Many of you are making life more difficult on yourselves. You're preventing yourselves from making more money and having better driving skills because you aren't paying attention to the people who are more skilled, more experienced, or having more success than you are.
In other words, shut up for a minute and have a look around at the people who are outperforming you. Then you can start doing it yourself, and doing it right.
The Early Stages Of Your Career
In the beginning of your trucking career you have a particular knowledge set and a particular skill set you should be focusing on.
The knowledge part includes:
The skills will include backing, shifting, and basic driving skills, all of which will be taught to you in school and improved out on the road with a trainer.
The Biggest Problem Rookies Face
One of the biggest problems rookies face is that they come into the trucking industry with their own expectations of what they need to learn and how the training should be done. This causes a ton of grief, and in fact needlessly causes the end of a lot of careers before they even get off the ground.
Many students have their own agenda. Instead of listening to what they're being told to do, they're doing what they think they should be doing.
We recently had a visitor who had started a conversation in our trucker's forum. He was a classic example of someone who thinks they know the best course of action instead of listening to what they're being told.
He started out this conversation by saying:
I feel I will have to know everything about:
- Every last gauge on the truck's dash
- Every last idiot light on the truck's dash
- Every last pedal, lever and switch in the rig
- How the heating and air conditioner work's
- How the truck's radio works
- How to turn the lights on and off
- How the power inverters work
- How to connect the air lines to the trailer
- How to uncouple the tractor from the trailer
- How to inspect all the vehicular lights
- How every last piece of onboard electronic equipment works (if it even does work)
Ok, at some point sure, you're going to have to know that kind of stuff. But he's only at the stage where he's considering a career. He doesn't even know if trucking is the right career for him or not. He doesn't know the expectations and the demands of the job. He doesn't even know if he qualifies for the job in the first place. He decided on his own he knows what he needs to worry about right now.
For instance, he mentions he has an issue with heat stroke. One of our moderators, Rainy, rightfully pointed out:
Had you discussed this heat stroke thing...we could have told you right away trucking is probably not for you and you will waste the state's money. You can go to school and get a CDL , but companies probably would not hire you due to your past heat stroke issues. I just spent three days in CA/AZ in 120 degrees and just walking from the parked truck to the truck stop to use the shower was horrible. So for someone with issues, I'm sure it would be ungodly.
Obviously he should first consider whether or not he's even cut out for this career before he starts studying the various gauges and functions in a truck. So now that he knows this, he'll begin with this important step, right?
Oh heck no. Instead he'll make false assumptions and accusations:
You might be working for some mickey-mouse company with broken old-fashioned equipment. I can't imagine biggie outfits' like Swift placing their drivers in any less than late-model rigs with effective and reliable climate controls in any weather. I would stay away from little mom-and-pop outfits myself. A newer, modern truck is going to be a much more safe, comfortable and secure environment than some rig decades old for any long-haul driver. Again a good company will be conscientious about maintaining their equipment.
Oh, good call my friend. Rainy is actually working for the largest and most successful refrigerated outfit in the country driving one of the nicest rigs on the planet. This guy talks like he's giving advice to someone who is currently a trainer in this industry, and the guy has never even seen the inside of a big rig.
But the assumptions and the "know it all" attitude don't stop there. He goes on to say:
I can't imagine a big firm like Swift will require their drivers to drive "off the beaten path" across the nation away from the relative safety and security of the interstate freeway system where there is always emergency help nearby. I would only be interested in reefer/dry van/bulk tanks anyway. No liquid tanks or flatbeds for me.
Oh really??? So you think Swift Transportation only drives on the Interstates? What a ridiculous assumption. Not even close.
And of course without five minutes of experience or research on the matter he decides "I would only be interested in reefer/dry van/bulk tanks anyway. No liquid tanks or flatbeds for me."
That's funny. I drove a food grade liquid tanker for a while and I absolutely loved it. There are a long list of great advantages and interesting aspects to pulling a tanker. Not only that, but anyone with any experience in trucking knows that no one loves their job the way flatbedders do. Those guys are hardcore and most of them wouldn't dream of doing anything else.
But hey, what do we know, right? Why do the research or listen to experienced drivers when you already know it all?
I could go on all day about this guy but you can read the rest of this conversation here - and it only gets worse:
Forum Conversation: Will I Learn Everything About Every Control Inside A Truck?
The Bottom Line For Rookies
Please do not assume anything coming into this industry. The trucking industry is a strange beast. I can promise you it isn't like anything you've ever done before and you're going to be continuously surprised at the way it operates. If you come in with your own fictitious set of ideals and expectations you're going to make life miserable for yourself.
- You're going to think you're with a lousy school or a lousy company because they don't do things the way you expect them to be done
- You're not going to get along with the instructors or dispatch because you won't listen and do what's expected of you, and they won't tolerate people who won't listen
- You're not going to learn the important things you need to learn to perform at a high level, turn the big miles, and make the big money like the Top Tier Drivers
So clear your mind of expectations, listen to what you're being told, do what's being expected of you, and ask a lot of questions along the way.
Your Typical Conversation With A Disgruntled Experienced Driver
Ok, it's time to get on the experienced drivers a little bit. Anyone with experience in trucking knows this industry is loaded with complainers and underperformers. There is a sizeable percentage of drivers out there who are hardheaded, belligerent, and unhappy with pretty much everything and everyone.
Some of them simply aren't cut out for trucking but they're trying to make it work. Unfortunately it's probably never going to work for them and they're never going to be happy. But many of these drivers are stepping on their own toes and won't shut up long enough or humble themselves a little so they can see they're handling things poorly and need to change their ways.
Old School, another of our moderators, is thrilled with company he works for. He gets tons of miles, drives beautiful equipment, and gets treated very well.
One day he wandered into the terminal, which he normally tries to avoid, and one of the reasons he states for that is:
What I don't enjoy about terminals is that there always seems to be a certain crowd of drivers there who enjoy commiserating together about how badly trucking has treated them. I'm sure you know the type, we call them the "Terminal Rats!"
Sometimes I would wonder, "Do these guys ever work?" It is no wonder that they have a long list of grievances about their pay. At some point in this career you have got to figure out that we get paid for our performance, and not just because we are on the payroll.
Interestingly enough I did a podcast on the subject of terminal rats:
Episode 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers - check it out.
I'm going to give some highlights of the conversation but you can read his full story and comment on it in our trucker's forum here:
Me and My Big Mouth! (How to start a fight at a terminal).
So Old School comes across a disgruntled experienced driver, a terminal rat basically, who is complaining endlessly:
"I've been sitting here at the terminal now almost long enough to get a "34" [hour reset] in... This company sucks, they just don't have the miles to give us... I'm going on a year now, and I have never even done 2,500 miles yet... I can't keep this up, I've got to find a better company that has the miles... etc., ad nauseum."
Another driver who gets great miles asks who his dispatcher is:
"Oh, it's [dispatcher's name], he spends more time trying to screw me over than he does at making any effort to get me some decent runs, I swear he tries to aggravate me with the loads he comes up with."
Old School hesitates to say anything about the fact that he's "almost always in excess of 3,000 miles on a weekly basis" but goes on to say:
After some of the others start agreeing with [the terminal rat] and say they are experiencing the same thing, the first guy that commented falls out of the conversation, because he seemed to realize, like me, that these guys just don't get it. He kind of gives me a quizzical look as If he was wondering if we were thinking the same thoughts.
This terminal rat gets on the phone with his dispatcher and says, to paraphrase:
"Can't you find something better than that! I'm not going to do that run, it would be impossible for me to get that done by Tuesday morning before the payroll cut-off. I need some money on this week's check. I told you that already and here you go and come up with a 1600 mile run! Why can't you ever get me something like this when I need it? Now when I'm just wanting something to get me by until payday you try to get me to jump over the moon for you, well I'm not your puppet man! You can give that to some fool who thinks he just has to take everything you tell him - I'm going to be right here waiting for you to come up with something I can finish by Tuesday morning, or better yet Monday morning just to be on the safe side - I've got to have some money now! I can't be stretching this pay period over into the next week - I've got bills to pay now. What is it about my situation that you just can't seem to understand?"
....and then "slams his phone to the table and starts bragging to the others about how he is just not gonna take this crap. They're gonna have to come up with something better than that if they want him to take it!"
Old School made a valiant attempt to explain kindly to this driver how he could have made that 1600 mile run, but the driver jumped on Old School the way he did his dispatcher and let Old School know that "anytime he needed some advice from a 'super trucker' he would ask for it!"
Again, you can read and comment on this conversation here: Me and My Big Mouth! (How to start a fight at a terminal)
Where Experienced Drivers Go Wrong
There are several things about the trucking industry that some of you experienced drivers don't seem to understand so I'm going to lay it out here for you.
Quit Being A Jerk
Seriously, you're a jerk and you know it. See, you're even smiling right now, aren't you? You're costing yourself a lot of money thinking you can lay down the law and tell people off all the time. You can't scare anyone into listening to you because you have no authority other than the decision to drive that truck or not.
You can't control dispatch, the shipping clerks, the DOT officers, or the waitress at the truck stop. By being a loudmouth jerk you're making people want to go out of their way to get back at you. Without any authority in any matters you're an easy target. Everyone knows the expression, "You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar". Unless you enjoy sitting around going broke while your peers fill their pockets with cash, wake up and change your attitude.
Do The Dirty Work And Don't Complain About It
Every driver out there has to do some dirty work once in a while. I know you've been driving for five or ten years, but all of the freight has to get moved and sometimes you're the one in the perfect position to move that 300 mile run to Jersey you detest.
Another expression you've heard, "Pay It Forward", applies here. Do that lousy run without complaint and then let dispatch know it's time to throw you a bone. You may have to do another lousy run right away first. Who knows? But if you'll Pay It Forward you can be certain that dispatch will reward you in kind with some big, fat, sweet run to Texas or Florida.
A lot of drivers think, "I've been out here a long time. I've paid my dues. I'm not doing the grunt work anymore." Well you have to realize that if dispatch piles all of the grunt work on their newer drivers they'll never keep any of these newer drivers. They have to spread the love around a little bit. You can be certain you'll get the great miles you deserve, but doing some grunt work once in a while will always be part of the job. Any driver who gets treated great and consistently gets top miles is doing grunt work once in a while.
Stop Being Late
I know, you're on time most of the time. Well that's simply not good enough. Either your company can count on you to get the job done or they can't. There's really no middle ground. Get to all of your appointments on time and stop making excuses.
There are plenty of drivers who can go an entire year without being late to one single appointment, and they're facing the same traffic and weather and exhausting schedule that you are. The difference is in the standards they set for themselves. You think it's ok to be on time 90% of the time and they won't settle for less than 100% on time service. That's why they're getting 3,000 miles a week and you're getting 2,200.
When a critical load from a critical customer becomes available you're simply not going to get it. You're going to get that 300 mile run to Jersey you can't stand while they're going to get that important load that has to be on time going to Texas.
100% on time with all appointments. That's the standard Top Tier Drivers set for themselves. Get on board with that or get left behind.
The Bottom Line For All Drivers
Listen, there are drivers out there that we refer to as "Top Tier Drivers" here at TruckingTruth. These drivers:
Turn big miles consistently
Get pre-planned on loads regularly
Always make their appointments on time
Get along well with dispatch
Drive beautiful equipment
Get all kinds of special favors from the company
If you want to be part of this group you have to step up your game. If you're a rookie, strive for perfection in everything you do. You'll almost never reach that level of performance, but you'll come darn close if you never stop reaching.
If you're an experienced driver and you're not getting the great miles and special favors you expect then it's time to wake up and realize you're stepping on your own toes. Learn to get along well with people and learn to work through problems instead of just screaming demands at people.
I realize a lot of people are cynical toward the office personnel but you really are all on the same team. Everyone wins when the trucks keep those wheels turning. If you want your share of the miles you have to earn them, regardless of how long you've been driving. That means doing some of the dirty work once in a while.
Be on time with your loads. Do some dirty work once in a while. And seriously, quit complaining and quit being a jerk. It will make a huge difference in your wallet at the end of the week.
Live long and prosper!
Advice For New Truck Drivers
Becoming A Truck Driver
Dealing With The Boss
First Solo Months On The Road
Hard Lessons Learned
Truck Driver Salary
Truck Driver Training